MIDLAND, Mich. – With just four hits as a team at the start of the 6th inning, the Great Lakes Loons were looking for a spark. They certainly found it when they burst out for six runs on seven hits over the next two frames against the Clinton LumberKings to even the weekend series with a 6-1 win at Dow Diamond on Sunday.
Four players in the home lineup had multi-hit games, including Logan Landon who brought in a run with a double of his own in that 6th. The Loons outfielder has extended his hitting streak to 10 games and joins Omar Estevez (12) as the only players on the team to have a double-digit hit streak this season.
Drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers last month in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft out of Central Michigan University, infielder Zach McKinstry had his first multi-game for the Loons, along with Saige Jenco and Garrett Hope who each had two hits in the game.
Wes Helsabeck had his second consecutive strong start for Great Lakes (12-17; 41-58) after starting the season coming out of the bullpen. Despite the no decision, he threw five shutout innings on just three hits, he did not issue a walk and had six strikeouts. That is now 10 scoreless innings as a starter for the lefty.
In what turned out to be a piggyback start, Dennis Santana (W, 2-8) was solid over the final four innings as he allowed one run on four hits with just one walk. It’s his first win as a relief pitcher.
It took until the 6th inning for either team to get on the scoreboard. It was Clinton (22-8; 61-39) who pushed across the first run of the ballgame when Logan Taylor singled and scored on a double from Alex Jackson. The 2014 1st round pick of the Seattle Mariners, Jackson went 3-for-4 on the day and had the lone extra base hit for the LumberKings.
But the Loons proceeded to load the bases in the ensuing stanza and got run-scoring base knocks from Brendon Davis and Landon to make it a 3-1 advantage. In the 7th it was three more runs for Great Lakes, highlighted by a two-run single from first baseman Eric Meza.
Pedro Vasquez (L, 1-1) was saddled with the loss as he allowed five runs (three earned) on 10 hits in his start for Clinton. Rohn Pierce settled the game down in the closing moments as he allowed one unearned run over two innings.
With a record of 4-1 so far on the homestand, the Loons will look to make it back-to-back series wins on Monday with a special afternoon first pitch of 2:05 p.m. The game will feature a much-anticipated pitching matchup, as well.
Highly-touted prospect Yadier Alvarez (1-0, 1.80 ERA) is slated to start for Great Lakes on the mound. The Cuban right-hander struck out 10 batters over five innings in his debut for the Loons last week against the Kane County Cougars.
The LumberKings plan to start Nick Neidert on the bump. Drafted in the 2nd round last year out of high school, the right-hander is 7-2 with a 2.39 ERA in 11 starts for Clinton in 2016. The Georgia native also possesses an impressive 0.90 WHIP (walks and hits per inning pitched).
You can hear coverage of the featured game in the Midwest League tomorrow on ESPN 100.9-FM beginning at 1:35 p.m. with Chris Vosters and Brad Tunney. Subscribers can also watch the game streaming live on MiLB.TV.
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